Hurricane Michael has upgraded to a Category 3 storm and is shaping up to be the the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. so far this year.
The National Hurricane Center reported the Category 3 storm’s maximum sustained winds reached around 120 mph Tuesday afternoon, and it’s expected to intensify by the time it makes landfall near Panama City, Florida, on Wednesday. For comparison, Hurricane Florence’s maximum sustained winds were around 90 mph when it hit North Carolina last month.
Hurricane Michael is expected to bring damaging winds, heavy rains and flash flooding to the Florida Panhandle, Big Bend and Nature Coast, as well as southeastern Alabama and southern Georgia.
Florida, Alabama and Georgia have all declared states of emergency, with Florida going a step further and ordering mandatory evacuations for some 120,000 residents in the storm’s trajectory.
Other hurricane preparations in Florida are also underway. Generators for traffic signal support are on standby. Comcast announced it’ll open its Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots to everyone in the Florida Panhandle following the storm. And the American Red Cross and Salvation Army are readying personnel and mobile feeding units to help people out after the storm.
Flooding from Michael has already led to at least 13 deaths across Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador. The National Hurricane Center says the storm will dump heavy rains and cause flash flooding over parts of Cuba as well.
Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN.
Source:: Newsy Headlines